$2.5k fat bike: Trek vs Giant vs Specialized vs Framed Bikes

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$2.5k fat bike: Trek vs Giant vs Specialized vs Framed Bikes

Postby mtbdudex » November 17th, 2019, 2:28 pm

I've been eyeing give or take $2.5k price point for 4.5" fat bikes, the usual Trek, Giant, Specialized...
Rode my friends 2016 Terk Farely 7 twice this weekend, had a blast.
It was 10:30am, so stopped by Hometown cycles in Brighton today ... they showed me Framed Bikes.
I've never heard of them, since I know MMBA'ers have them curious experience.

Framed Bike Alaskan Carbon Fat Bike $2.3k (carbon frame / Bluto susp fork / carbon wheels)
https://www.framedbikes.com/collections/fat-bikes/products/alaskan-carbon-fat-bike-27-5-2019?variant=31199227674742
vs
Trek Farely 9.6 $3.0k (carbon frame / ridgid carbon fork / alum wheels)
https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bikes/mountain-bikes/fat-bikes/farley/farley-9-6/p/24589/?colorCode=greendark
vs
Giant Yukon 1 $2.1k (alum frame / ridgid carbon fork / alum wheels) Giant does not offer a carbon frame, so not apples-apples
https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/yukon-1-2020
vs
Specialized Fatboy Comp Carbon $3k (carbon frame / ridgid carbon fork / alum wheels)
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/fatboy-comp-carbon/p/171063?color=263305-171063


On a spec / price / value the Framed totally "wins" ... but am I missing anything?
Last edited by mtbdudex on November 17th, 2019, 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: $2.5k fat bike: Trek vs Giant vs Specialized vs Framed B

Postby vas » November 17th, 2019, 5:09 pm

Choice is obvious I think... lower price and carbon wheels on the Framed! Great bike!
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Re: $2.5k fat bike: Trek vs Giant vs Specialized vs Framed B

Postby amadkins » November 17th, 2019, 7:50 pm

If it were my money, I’d go with a Farley 5 or 7. Great geometry, huge tire clearance, and the kept the Q factor narrower than some other companies with big tire clearance. Save the money from the carbon frame and spend it on a custom wheel set down the road. Pretty much all these bikes have crap hubs spec’d out on them and the rear will die at some point. A carbon frame doesn’t really get you much on a fat bike frame since the tires dominate the ride feel.

However, the biggest reason I’d vote for the Farley is the Gnarwhals. Nearly as good as Bud/Lou in fresh snow, but better on roughly packed snow. Plus STUDS. I’ll never run another winter setup in SE MI without studs. We get too many thaw/refreshed cycles. Chasing the right tire setup can get costly with fat bikes.

Good luck, these are fun problems to have.
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Re: $2.5k fat bike: Trek vs Giant vs Specialized vs Framed B

Postby c0nsumer » November 17th, 2019, 9:32 pm

Man. I wrote a hefty reply but I don't know where it went.

The Specialized's wheels are the best of the lot, those rims are EXCELLENT tubeless. The Specialized also has a very nice drivetrain, GX Eagle is a lot lighter than the NX on the Farley or SX on the Framed.

The wheels on the Framed are probably pretty good, but I think of the suspension fork as a detriment. I don't think it's needed in snow, adds weight, and adds complexity and something to maintain. The geometry on the Framed is kind of an unknown.

The Trek is NX (heavy cassette, Shimano FH body) and the Mulefut rims are only so-so for tubeless. They work, but you have to fuss with rim strips and tape. On the Specialized rims there's no tape, just the nipples and the single wall rim and it's all sealed up and done.

If Framed actually had the GX version with the carbon fork that'd be worth considering, but their site doesn't list it as an option.

EDIT: If I was making this choice, it'd be a Fatboy Carbon Comp.
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$2.5k fat bike: Trek vs Giant vs Specialized vs Framed Bikes

Postby mtbdudex » November 18th, 2019, 6:10 am

amadkins wrote:If it were my money, I’d go with a Farley 5 or 7. Great geometry, huge tire clearance, and the kept the Q factor narrower than some other companies with big tire clearance. Save the money from the carbon frame and spend it on a custom wheel set down the road. Pretty much all these bikes have crap hubs spec’d out on them and the rear will die at some point. A carbon frame doesn’t really get you much on a fat bike frame since the tires dominate the ride feel.

However, the biggest reason I’d vote for the Farley is the Gnarwhals. Nearly as good as Bud/Lou in fresh snow, but better on roughly packed snow. Plus STUDS. I’ll never run another winter setup in SE MI without studs. We get too many thaw/refreshed cycles. Chasing the right tire setup can get costly with fat bikes.

Good luck, these are fun problems to have.


Totally agree fun problems to have.
Running at 7psi on my friends 2016 Farley 7 I had a blast this weekend snow riding, both Saturday and Sunday.
Image
Those Gnarwhals sure gripped the snow. Ahh, studded tires at $200 each ... do you just run them all winter, then swap out to 3 season tires ?

This will be my “other“ bike, not a 2nd bike. I have a 2019 Trek ProCaliber 9.6 upgraded brakes to XTR.
Thinking is my winter ride, yet plan on the other 3 seasons also.

Edit: Well I do have a 3rd bike, my 1998 Litespeed Ti 26” full XTR 3x8 speed with Mavic Crossmax rims... it’s a Dino just taking space in garage.
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Re: $2.5k fat bike: Trek vs Giant vs Specialized vs Framed B

Postby mtbdudex » November 18th, 2019, 8:04 am

Steve - thx for your reply also.

What's the scoop on 26" vs 27.5" tires on fatties??

I see some, Specialized, offers a 27.5x3.8” on the carbon comp, but below that it's 26x4.6" ... while others used to and now moved to 27.5" fatties.

The 2016 Trek Farely 7 I rode has 26" x 4.7", just huge and I was able to ride off trail and float on snow, the 2020 Farely 5 27.5x4.5 same with the 2020 Farely 9.6 comes with 27.5x4.5

The Farmed Alaskan comes with Maxxis Minion FBR/FBF 27.5 x 3.8in, (same size as specialized) .. so it's contact footprint has gotta be less than 27.4 4.5" ....
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Re: $2.5k fat bike: Trek vs Giant vs Specialized vs Framed B

Postby c0nsumer » November 18th, 2019, 8:33 am

I think it's all about contact patch and volume, but overall probably doesn't matter that much either way. I figure the roll-over of the big tires is nicer. Of course, there is a weight penalty. Larger diameter and skinnier tire may be the way to go on groomed stuff, while smaller diameter and fatter may be the way to go for crap conditions.

I personally have 26 x 4.8" tires that I ride almost year round, but I keep thinking about getting some 27.5" rims as they'll fit on my Mukluk. The downside is lack of tire availability. But, there's a handful of good tires available, so I don't think that's a big deal. I just don't want to spend the money myself. (My preferred tires are Barbegazi for summer/light snow, Flowbeist/Dunderbeist for serious and loose snow, and Cake Eaters for ice.)

For me it'd cost about $1500 to get 27.5 fat wheels and tires... Just not sure that's worth it, as the 26" ones work great, as the overall diameter is about same as a 29er, which is still plenty.

I find it weird that S is going with 27.5 before they have their own tires available, but the FBF / FBR are well regarded, so it's not a bad tire choice at all. And you could always take them off and get a more snow-specific tire and sell them new.

Personally, if the frame will clear it, I can't see any downsides to 27.5 fat, so long as you can get something wide enough to be what you want.
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Re: $2.5k fat bike: Trek vs Giant vs Specialized vs Framed B

Postby c0nsumer » November 18th, 2019, 8:50 am

Also, VERY good wheelset prices here: https://brokenspokebikes.com/products/d ... b-a-d-rims

You could always get the bike of your choice, then just swap/upgrade the wheels if you choose later... If you're doing that, I'd go for the best frame and drivetrain and brakes you can get. (Specialized in that case.)
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Re: $2.5k fat bike: Trek vs Giant vs Specialized vs Framed B

Postby amadkins » November 18th, 2019, 10:58 am

mtbdudex wrote:...
Those Gnarwhals sure gripped the snow. Ahh, studded tires at $200 each ... do you just run them all winter, then swap out to 3 season tires ?
...
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Only winter. My fatbike is mission built to keep me upright in the winter. Any other riding is handled by my Stache.
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Re: $2.5k fat bike: Trek vs Giant vs Specialized vs Framed B

Postby mtbdudex » November 18th, 2019, 2:43 pm

and ... just today the 2020 Framed bike is listed , talk about timing ....
GX Eagle 1x12, Bluto fork, carbon wheels ....
https://www.framedbikes.com/collections/fat-bikes/products/alaskan-carbon-fat-bike-27-5-2020?variant=31230849777782

You know my work friend Emil Sims?
He said a friend has a Alaskan Carbon Fat Bike 27.5" 2019 and loves it.
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Re: $2.5k fat bike: Trek vs Giant vs Specialized vs Framed B

Postby c0nsumer » November 18th, 2019, 3:06 pm

mtbdudex wrote:and ... just today the 2020 Framed bike is listed , talk about timing ....
GX Eagle 1x12, Bluto fork, carbon wheels ....
https://www.framedbikes.com/collections/fat-bikes/products/alaskan-carbon-fat-bike-27-5-2020?variant=31230849777782

You know my work friend Emil Sims?
He said a friend has a Alaskan Carbon Fat Bike 27.5" 2019 and loves it.


That's a decent looking build. I don't know much about the Hayes brakes, but otherwise it sounds sane. I'd really consider the carbon fork, though. I don't think the squishy fork is worth it at all, unless you'll be riding the bike in the summer.

You can find a Bluto for $400, only $100 more than the delta between the carbon and Bluto forks. (There's a brand new one, with better damper, on Michigan Bicycle Classifieds right now.)
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Re: $2.5k fat bike: Trek vs Giant vs Specialized vs Framed B

Postby mtbdudex » November 18th, 2019, 4:22 pm

Steve - thx for feedback and sanity check.
Honestly if I don't add the susp shock now, with 3 kids and our trip to Europe Summer 2020 ... it won't happen.
I can see myself riding this in the summer, just as a switch to my 29'er, and also when I ride with ..... less capable MTB friends so I can still get a work out.

Having thought about the whole "less is more" and how much I enjoyed the basic 2016 Farely 7 (no susp) ..

I actually stopped by Brighton D&D shop during lunch run to Home Depot, they have thru today .... 15% off on in-store bikes.
I liked the Yukon 1 more than the Farely 5 or 7 .. so I put a 10% down to hold it , $1.9k out the door ...SRAM NX Eagle group 1 x 12
>>This is my local alum frame buy bike, but I'm not a fan of dropper seat post ...
https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/yukon-1-2020

Then after Home Depot and Costco run, I stopped by Specialized shop by D!cks sporting goods side, and talked 15 minutes .. they just listed their 2020 fatboys, have 20% off in-store 2019 models.
But, the 2020 is a better deal after discussion with the mgr there.
Close to the Yokon 1 is their basic fatboy at $2k out the doorwith SRAM SX Eagle group 1 x 12, ... I did NOT put anything down on this ... just felt the Giant had it beat
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/fatboy/p/171065?color=264340-171065

so, having gone full circle .... it's either $1.9k out the door LBS, or $3.1k out the door BTO shop ... I'll sleep on it .. and read more ..
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Re: $2.5k fat bike: Trek vs Giant vs Specialized vs Framed B

Postby vas » November 18th, 2019, 10:17 pm

So why not Framed with carbon wheels? Just curious...
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Re: $2.5k fat bike: Trek vs Giant vs Specialized vs Framed B

Postby b_b » November 18th, 2019, 10:56 pm

c0nsumer wrote:If Framed actually had the GX version with the carbon fork that'd be worth considering, but their site doesn't list it as an option.

They do on 2020 model!
$2500 GX, carbon fork, carbon wheels
Are PUB hubs any good?
Does Fatboy get DT internals?
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Re: $2.5k fat bike: Trek vs Giant vs Specialized vs Framed B

Postby c0nsumer » November 19th, 2019, 6:04 am

Pub Hubs are likely either Novatec or Formula. Should be just fine. Fatboy has Specialized Stout hubs which are likely similar to Pub. You don't get DT until you start spending a fair bit.
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